Types of Headaches and the Complete Headache Chart

Headache chart

The human nervous system is also the central intelligence system within the body. It comes with a lot of complications also if not taken care.

Headaches are the most notorious turmoils of the human nervous system according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Their statistics for the last year show that approximately 47% of the human population suffers from at least one headache.

In this article, the headache chart will help you understand types of a headache, symptoms, precipitating factors, headache treatment, and prevention.

One should not ignore headaches nor should it be taken lightly. They can cause nervous breakdown and gradually degrade the person’s quality of life. They are capable of hitting personal and professional relationships in a distressful way.

If not treated in time they can become your highway to other illnesses. Different people can have their own variations of symptoms, occur for distinctive reasons, and require different kinds of cure.

Once you identify the nature of a headache you have, you could easily find the right treatment option.

What are the Common Types of Headache?

Thanks to modern science, we can now identify a variety of headaches and headache locations. The most familiar types are tension-type headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. The human race has become a victim of this internal catastrophe making it a global health concern.

What are Headache Locations? What Do They Mean? What does the location of your headache mean?

The causes for pain front of your head can be something different than a pain in the temples, or in the back or right in the middle of your head.

According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines.

1. Tension-type Headaches

They are the most regular form of a headache among adults and teens. They cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over time and usually have no other symptoms.

This form of a headache is the quite common and frequent in adults and teens. They happen to develop mild to moderate pain occurring frequently and show no other symptoms.

Women are likely to suffer from this form of a headache compared to men. Tension-type headaches may cause due to anxiety or by muscle irritation in the neck.

Folks who put up with these types of headaches time and again report pressure or tightness around their head.

2. Migraine

People who suffer from migraines go through intense headaches. You may experience hammering, agonizing pain in your head.

These symptoms can last from 4 hours to 3 days and habitually happen one to four times per month. They don’t go well with any physical activity.

People report other symptoms along with this pain. The quite common dilemma brought up are sensitivity to light, noise, or smells; nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite; and upset stomach or abdominal pain.

When an adolescent has a migraine, he/she may appear pale, experience dizziness, and have blurry vision, fever, and an upset stomach.

3. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are somewhat exceptional, disturbing men more than women. Cluster headaches develop in people above the age of 20.

They are illustrated as an extreme headache or agonizing. Pain around the eye tearing and redness are common evils that tag along Cluster Headaches.

They’re termed “cluster headaches” since they tend to occur in groups. One might get them one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to 3 months.

Each headache attack grows from 15 mins to 3 hours and often wakens the person from sleep. The headaches may vanish entirely (go into “remission”) for months or years, only to reoccur.

Related Reading: Pain in Left Temple of Head: 12 Causes and Natural Treatments

The Complete Headache Chart

TypeSymptomsPrecipitating FactorsTreatmentPrevention
Hangover HeadachesMigraine‐like symptoms of throbbing pain and nausea not localized to one side.Alcohol, which causes dilation and irritation of the blood vessels of the brain and
surrounding tissue.
Liquids (including broth). Consumption of fructose (honey, tomato juice are good sources) to help burn alcohol.Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Caffeine Withdrawal HeadachesThrobbing a headache caused by rebound dilation of the blood vessels, occurring multiple days after consumption of large
quantities of caffeine.
Caffeine.In extreme cases, treat by terminating caffeine consumption.Avoiding excess use of caffeine.
Exertion HeadachesGeneralized head pain of short duration (minutes to 1 hour) during or following physical exertion (running, jumping, or sexual intercourse), or passive exertion (sneezing, coughing, moving one’s bowels, etc.).10% caused by organic diseases (aneurysms, tumors, or blood vessel malformation). 90% are related to a migraine or cluster headaches.The cause must be accurately determined. Most commonly treated with aspirin, indomethacin, or propranolol. Extensive testing is necessary to determine the headache cause. Surgery to correct organic disease is occasionally
Alternative forms of exercise. Avoid jarring exercises.
Post‐Traumatic HeadachesLocalized or generalized pain can mimic migraine or tension‐type headache symptoms. Headaches usually occur on daily basis and are frequently resistant to treatment.Pain can occur after relatively minor traumas. Cause of pain is often difficult to diagnose.Possible treatment by use of anti-inflammatory drugs, propranolol, or biofeedback.Standard precautions against trauma.
Hunger HeadachesPain strikes just before mealtime. Caused by muscle tension, low blood sugar, and rebound dilation of the blood vessels, oversleeping or
missing a meal.
Strenuous dieting or skipping meals.Regular, nourishing meals containing adequate protein and complex carbohydrates.Same as treatment.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) HeadachesA muscle‐contraction type of pain, sometimes accompanied by a painful “clicking” sound on opening the jaw. An infrequent cause of a headache.Caused by malocclusion (poor bite), stress, and jaw clenching.Relaxation, biofeedback, use of bite plate. In extreme cases, correction of malocclusion.Same as treatment.
Tic Douloureux HeadachesShort, jabs like the pain in trigger areas found in the face around the mouth or jaw. Frequency and longevity of pain vary. Relatively rare disease of the neural impulses; more common in women after age 55.Cause unknown. Pain from chewing, cold air, touching face. If under age 55, may result from neurological diseases, such as MS.Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants. Neurosurgery.None.
Fever HeadachesGeneralized head pain that develops with fever. Caused by swelling of the blood
vessels of the head.
Caused by infection.Aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDs, antibiotics.None.
Arthritis HeadachesPain in the back of head or neck. Intensifies on movement. Caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the head or bony changes in the structures of the neck.Cause of pain is unknown.Anti‐inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants.None.
Eyestrain HeadachesUsually frontal, bilateral pain, directly related to eyestrain. The rare cause of a headache.Muscle imbalance. Uncorrected vision,
Correction of vision.Same as treatment.
Temporal ArteritisA boring, burning, or jabbing pain caused by inflammation of the temporal arteries.
Pain, often around the ear, on chewing. Weight loss, eyesight problems. Rarely affects people under 50.
The cause is unknown. Maybe due to an immune disorder.Steroids after diagnosis. Confirmed by biopsy.None.
Tumor HeadachePain progressively worsens, projectile vomiting, possible visual disturbances speech or personality changes; problems with equilibrium, gait, or coordination; seizures. Extremely rare condition.Cause of tumor is usually unknown.If discovered early, treat with surgery or newer radiological methods.None.
Tension‐Type HeadachesDull, non‐throbbing pain, frequently bilateral, associated with tightness of scalp or neck. The degree of severity remains constant.Emotional stress. Hidden depression.Rest, aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, combinations of analgesics with caffeine, ice packs, muscle relaxants. Antidepressants if appropriate, biofeedback, psychotherapy. If necessary, temporary use of stronger
prescription analgesics.
Avoidance of stress. Use of biofeedback, relaxation techniques or antidepressant medication.
Migraine without AuraSevere, one‐sided throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cold hands, sensitivity to sound and light.Certain foods, the Pill or menopausal hormones, excessive hunger, changes in altitude, weather, lights, excessive smoking, and emotional stress.
Hereditary component.
Ice packs; isometheptene mucate, combination products containing caffeine, ergotamine, DHE injectable and nasal spray, 5‐HT agonists; analgesics or medications, which constrict the blood vessels. For prolonged attacks, steroids may
be helpful.
Biofeedback, beta-blockers (propranolol, timolol), anti‐convulsant (divalproex sodium). Calcium blockers and NSAIDs may prevent or treat migraine
Migraine with AuraSimilar to a migraine without aura, except warning symptoms, develop. May include visual disturbances, numbness in arm or leg.
Warning symptoms subside within a one‐half hour, followed by severe pain.
Same as a migraine without aura.At the earliest onset of symptoms, treat using biofeedback, ergotamine, dihydroergotamine or a 5‐HT agonist. Once pain has begun, treatment is identical to a migraine without aura.Prevent with same techniques as a migraine without aura.
Cluster HeadachesExcruciating pain in the vicinity of the eye. Tearing of eye, nose congestion, flushing of the face. Pain frequently develops during sleep and may last for several hours. Attacks occur every day for weeks/month, then disappear for up to a year. 80% of cluster patients are male, most ages 20‐50.Alcoholic beverages, excessive smoking.Oxygen, ergotamine, sumatriptan or intranasal application of local anesthetic agent.Use of steroids, ergotamine, calcium channel blockers and lithium.
Menstrual HeadachesMigraine‐type pain that occurs shortly before, during, or immediately after menstruation or at mid‐cycle (at time of ovulation).Variances in estrogen levels.Same treatment as a migraine.Small doses of vasoconstrictors and/or anti‐inflammatory drugs before and during menstrual period may prevent headaches.
Hysterectomy does not cure menstrual
Hypertension HeadachesGeneralized or “hairband” type pain, most severe in the morning. Diminishes throughout the day.Severe hypertension: over 200 systolic and 110 diastolic.Treat with appropriate blood pressure medication.To prevent, keep blood pressure under control.
AneurysmSymptoms may mimic a frequent migraine or cluster headaches, caused by balloon‐like weakness or bulge in blood‐vessel wall. May rupture (stroke) or allow blood to leak slowly resulting in a sudden, unbearable headache, double vision, rigid neck. Individual rapidly
becomes unconscious.
Congenital tendency. Extreme hypertension.If an aneurysm is discovered early, treat with surgery.To prevent, keep blood pressure under control.
Sinus HeadachesGnawing pain over the nasal area, often increasing in severity throughout the day. Caused by acute infection, usually with fever, producing blockage of sinus ducts and preventing normal drainage. Sinus headaches are rare.
A migraine and cluster headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus in
Infection, nasal polyps, anatomical deformities, such as a deviated septum, that block the sinus ducts.Treat with antibiotics, decongestants, surgical drainage if necessary.None.
Allergy HeadachesGeneralized headache. Nasal congestion, watery eyes.Seasonal allergens, such as pollen, molds. Allergies to food are
not usually a factor.
Antihistamine medication; topical, nasal cortisone-related sprays or desensitization

Surprising Causes of Headache You May Not Know

What’s to blame for your headache? May perhaps be your favorite food? Less sleep? Here are some reasons just help you figure out the culprit.

1. Your Body Weight

In a study, researchers found that obese people (a body mass index of 30) had a 35% greater threat of headaches than those with a lower BMI. Severe obesity (BMI of 40) upped the chances to 80%.

2. Your Persona

Few traits, including being inflexible, reserved, and fanatical may make you headache-prone. If that seems like you, it’s time for relaxation therapies.

3. The Paint Job

It’s not just arguing over paint colors that can give you a headache; fumes from traditional paints can trigger pain.

4. Dehydration

One of the signs of dehydration is a headache, along with bitter mood, dropped energy levels, and failure to focus. Rather than gulping water in direct form, try getting more water from the foods you eat, says John La Puma, MD, author of ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine.

“I’d love it if people got more water from eating fruits and vegetables because then they’d get all the other good things that come with them,” he says.

5. Skipping Meals

We know you’re busy, but hunger is a common headache trigger. So keep your stomach filled with an adequate amount of healthy food and juices. Drink water frequently.

Finally, when you have identified the culprit, and you’re getting treatment, you should stay away from the things that prompt your problem, like foods or smells.

Stick to healthy habits that will make you feel good, like a regular workout, sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet.

Additionally, keep up with your follow-up arrangements so your doctor can gauge your progress and make changes if required.

Read Next:

“The Complete Headache Chart,” http://www.headaches.org/2008/12/11/the-complete-headache-chart/

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Dr. Mark Williams, MD

Dr. Mark Williams is a leader in alternative and integrated medicines. He is a medical writer and reviewer at Daily Health Cures. He received his medical degree in 1988. Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Daily Health Cures editorial team. He is a natural health advisor and provides a variety of alternative healing techniques in his practice.